Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 12, 2006

Phone Poll

ring, ring - ring, ring


Good evening Mrs. Answer. We are conducting a very short poll for the Washington Post. It will only take 5 minutes of your time. Would you please have the courtesy to answer these few question?

Oh another poll, I just took my pills and was ready to go to bed.

Please Mrs. Answer, it is really very very short and you know it's for the very important Washington Post paper that did this Watergate investigation. I am sure you will remember that.

Oh yes, yes I do remember that one. They buged some party offices back then, didn´t they. Well, okay. I'm tired. Why don´t you just start.

Have you heard of todays reports about the National Security Agency collecting information about all phone calls inside the United States?

Oh no, I have not heared that. What paper is doing that again?

No, not a paper. The NSA. The National Security Agency is doing this phone call collection program.

You mean, they are listening to us on the phone? Right now?

No. Ahemm. No, that is - I don´t know. But why would they be interested in a poll call like this. So no Mrs. Answer, I don´t think they are listening to us.

Now, could I ask you the few questions right away?

Oh, oh, you mean you don´t know - ahh - ahem - ahh - Yes, I mean sure yes, s_u_ r_e, s_u_r_ e.

Okay. No 1,
The National Security Agency has a program to collect information on telephone calls made in the United States in an effort to identify and investigate potential terrorist threats.

Do you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree with such a program.

I ahh I don´t know, I ahh, I agree I think, you know ahh yes ahem yes ahh I strongly agree - do you listen?  I strongly agree with that program.

Poll: Most Americans Support NSA's Efforts

TIA Automated Intercept Report - 05/12/06 11:23pm - detected keyword relevance level: high - keywords detected: "investigate", "National Security", "NSA", "pills", "terrorist", "threats", "Washington Post", "Watergate" - call attendees elevated to surveilence level 2 - end TIA

Posted by b on May 12, 2006 at 16:33 UTC | Permalink



Posted by: jonku | May 12 2006 16:47 utc | 1

Just found the actual questions asked (pdf).
The poll included only 500 people and was conducted during one night.

Posted by: b | May 12 2006 17:20 utc | 2

this criminal conspiracy is without end & perhaps slothrop is correct it is infinite both in its duration & terror

u s imperialism can be thankful that they have given empire so many other 'significations'

if theleft takes the position that everyone is guilty (global capital) then logically everyone is innocents

so we descend swiftly to barbarism

& the 'concious' lefty can go on reading books about what is happenning in zaire or in tal afar - never accepting for one moment that his cities, the cities of 'civilisation' repeat that barbarity without end in quotidian criminalities, quotidian gutting of civil rights, quotidian brutality

yes i suppose the circles of hell have no end - where there is no essential difference between georgetown university & the 'news'room at fox

where bourgeois liberals fancify their theory so that they do not face the the real question - that the systes they live under are falling apart - literally

who gains by the fall of the empire - i don't know today if i particularly care - there is no qualitative difference between this criminal administration & all the killerpuppets they haveemployed all over the world to guard their interests (noting here that their killer soeharto today is cleaned before 'tribunals' as was andreotti, as will be pinochet - this pourriture, this human garbage makes the 'war of ideas' sometimes so ridicule

&& the american people like the german people before them will only understand when the crimes they mete out so easily to others is meted unto them

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 12 2006 17:29 utc | 3

Phone polls all over the ‘west’ are completely skewed (and the pollsters know it, but they have to earn their bread and butter). They reach:

-people who have phones, stable homes / adresses, e.g. are registered on voter lists or appear in the phone ‘book’.

-peole who have fixed phones (in the EU in any case pollsters will never pay for the considerable extra charges to contact a ‘cell’ or ‘mobile’ phone - I suspect it might be the same in the US? )

-people who are home during the day (don’t work)

-people who are willing to take time to answer questions so are by definition ‘mainstream’ and approve of all the hoopla and are pleased to be consulted - all the others hang up immediately.

The polls, thus, typically in the US, sample a very small segment of the population.

For example (pulling it together through correlations), reach elderly main-stream-party women, home owners, retired, or non-workers, phone addicts (no internet), with children (concern for future), etc. etc.

Posted by: Noisette | May 12 2006 17:35 utc | 4

Sorry, shoulda been on ot...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 12 2006 18:57 utc | 6

@Uncle - not Goss (yet), but his pal Foggo. The interesting part of the Wilkes-Goss-Foggo story is how it is connected to the various spying programs. It may even turn out to fit the thread.

All these NSA and CIA contractors have definitly some "private" interest in the data they aquire and process for the agencies.

Posted by: b | May 12 2006 19:19 utc | 7

Nice to see R'Giap, hope and steel.

the american people like the german people before them will only understand when the crimes they mete out so easily to others is meted unto them

True words.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | May 12 2006 21:06 utc | 8

it's friday night sat morning in nantes & i'm waiting for news of rove's indictment; as if that mattered, after all they are accumulating crimes at juggernaut speeds & it would seem, as the professor in constitutional law at georgetown sd - that it would seems a preeminent basis of being employed in this administration if you have a criminal record or a propensity to criminal comportement or a future in crime

that the american public pays for the crimes committes against them surprises me not in the least

there is an image for this generation - as vietnam vets threw their medals, this generation ought to throw their portable phones, their computers over the white house fence

& the infighting between 'inteligence agencies' would do the sicilians or the albanians proud

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 12 2006 21:42 utc | 9

& their names for fuck's sake - scooter libby - dusty foggo - not nearly as resonant as caligula or nero

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 12 2006 22:42 utc | 10

Their names are reminiscent of the slimy criminals in Atlas Shrugged: Wesley Mouch, Orren Boyle, Balph Eubank, Cuffy Meigs, Mort Liddy, Kip Chalmers.

Frat-boy nicknames.

My favorite is still Turdblossom.

Posted by: catlady | May 12 2006 23:11 utc | 11


you are correct

& i imagine their godhead is a mixture of lobsang rampa & robert stack

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 12 2006 23:50 utc | 12

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso declined to comment on specific states but said populism was a threat.

"We are a Europe against populist tendencies," he said.

European humanism is really fine
Steal the oil and the diamond mines
Oh those yanks, they're so crude
crass and loud and really rude
We've got our standards and we know what we like
shoot down those blacks, but please be polite
down with exxon and the imperial machine
hooray for Dutch Shell and Elf Aquitine!
If Chavez and Evo want to step on our footsies
we'll show 'em civilization, just like we showed the tsutsis

Posted by: citizen k | May 13 2006 2:45 utc | 13

"but please be polite"

now, that's beautiful.

Posted by: slothrop | May 13 2006 3:19 utc | 14

Cafferty : Dictatorship

Cafferty: We all hope nothing happens to Arlen Specter, the Republican head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, cause he might be all that stands between us and a full blown dictatorship in this country. He's vowed to question these phone company executives about volunteering to provide the government with my telephone records, and yours, and tens of millions of other Americans.

Shortly after 9/11, AT7T, Verizon, and BellSouth began providing the super-secret NSA with information on phone calls of millions of our citizens, all part of the War on Terror, President Bush says. Why don't you go find Osama bin Laden, and seal the country's borders, and start inspecting the containers that come into our ports?

The President rushed out this morning in the wake of this front page story in USA Today and declared the government is doing nothing wrong, and all this is just fine. Is it? Is it legal? Then why did the Justice Department suddenly drop its investigation of the warrantless spying on citizens because the NSA said Justice Department lawyers didn't have the necessary security clearance to do the investigation. Read that sentence again. A secret government agency has told our Justice Department that it's not allowed to investigate it. And the Justice Department just says ok and drops the whole thing. We're in some serious trouble, boys and girls"

Well... I always thought this guy had his finger to the wind.

I admit I've been out of the country for awhile... Cafferty used to be a network mouthpiece didn't he?

But he was and presumably still is a fixture of the MSM and would never say anything his audience didn't already agree with, would he?

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 13 2006 5:28 utc | 15

One Mr. Falkenrath has an idiotic oped in the Washington Post.

The Right Call on Phone Records

He argues that the NSA phone record search is legal because the phone companies voluntarily passed the data to the NSA.

lets check that USA Today piece again:

The NSA, which needed Qwest's participation to completely cover the country, pushed back hard.

Trying to put pressure on Qwest, NSA representatives pointedly told Qwest that it was the lone holdout among the big telecommunications companies. It also tried appealing to Qwest's patriotic side: In one meeting, an NSA representative suggested that Qwest's refusal to contribute to the database could compromise national security, one person recalled.

In addition, the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government. Like other big telecommunications companies, Qwest already had classified contracts and hoped to get more.

Voluntary - indeed.

Posted by: b | May 13 2006 7:03 utc | 16

Blogger buys presidential candidate's call list

January 13, 2006

BY FRANK MAIN Crime Reporter

One of the nation's top political bloggers purchased the cell phone records of former presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark on Thursday to demonstrate the growing privacy concerns highlighted in a Chicago Sun-Times story last week. John Aravosis, publisher of, said he bought Clark's records for $89.95 from Aravosis said he obtained a list of 100 calls made on Clark's cell phone over three days in November -- no questions asked.>Link

Publishing some lists is a good idea for stopping the spying.

One easy way that I like is for every one in the US to use some ‘spook words’ in every single phone call.

The difficulty is always the same. People have to act together.

Posted by: Noisette | May 13 2006 9:14 utc | 17

Kurt Nimmo (May 11 2006) goes into the history a bit:

(...) Actually, this is not only misleading, it is completely disingenuous. Back in May of 1999, well before “everything changed” on September 11, 2001, the NSA was using Echelon to poke through the private communications of Americans. (...)>Link

Posted by: Noisette | May 13 2006 9:19 utc | 18

Polls are vital to assessing a nation's interests: 99% of the Iraqi population supporetd Saddam according to the last poll taken there, and over 80% of Byelorussians support Lukaschenka.

Posted by: ralphieboy | May 13 2006 9:33 utc | 19

" KM: In this context, why is Europe increasingly being supportive of US policies in the Middle East?

NC: If you look back over the past decades, a major concern of US policy -and it's very clear in internal planning - is that Europe might strike an independent course. During the cold war period, US was afraid Europe might follow what they called "a third way," and many mechanisms were used to inhibit any intention on the part of Europe to follow an independent course. That goes right back to the final days of World War II and its immediate aftermath, when US and Britain intervened, in some cases quite violently, to suppress the anti-fascist resistance and restore tradition structures, including fascist-Nazi collaborators. Germany was reconstructed pretty much the same way. The unwillingness to accept a unified neutral Germany in the 1950s was predicated on the same thinking. We don't know if that would have been possible, but Stalin did offer a unified Germany which would have democratic elections which he was sure to lose, but on condition that it would not be part of a hostile military alliance. However, the US was not willing to tolerate a unified Germany. The establishment of NATO is in large part an effort to ensure European discipline and the current attempts to expand NATO are further planning of the same sort.

European elites have been, by and large, pretty satisfied with this arrangement. They're not very different from the dominant forces in the US. They are somewhat different, but closely interrelated. There are mutual investments and business relations. The elite sectors of Europe don't particularly object to the US policies. You can see this very strikingly in the case of Iran. The US has sought to isolate and strangle Iran for years. It had embargos and sanctions, and it has repeatedly threatened Europe to eliminate investments in Iran. The main European corporations have pretty much agreed to that. China, on the other hand, did not. China can't be intimidated, that's why the US government is frightened of China. But Europe backs off and pretty much follows US will. The same is true on the Israel-Palestine front. The US strongly supports Israeli takeover of the valuable parts of the occupied territories and pretty much the elimination of the possibility of any viable Palestinian state. On paper, the Europeans disagree with that and they do join the international consensus on a two-state settlement, but they don't do anything about it. They're not willing to stand against the US. When the US government decided to punish the Palestinians for electing the wrong party in the last elections, Europe went along, not totally, but pretty much. By and large, European elites do not see it in their interest to confront the US. They'd rather integrate with it. The problem the US is having with China, and Asia more generally, is that they don't automatically accept US orders.

KM: They don't fall in line…

NC: Yes, they won't fall in line, and, especially in the case of China, they just won't be intimidated. That's why, if you read the latest National Security Strategy, China is identified as the major long range threat to the US. This is not because China is going to invade or attack anyone. In fact, of all the major nuclear powers, they're the one that is the least aggressive, but they simple refuse to be intimidated, not just in their policies regarding the Middle East, but also in Latin America. While the US is trying to isolate and undermine Venezuela, China proceeds to invest in and to import from Venezuela without regard to what the US says.

The international order is in a way rather like the mafia. The godfather has to ensure that there is discipline.

Europe quietly pursues its own economic interests as long as they don't fall in direct conflict with the US. Even in the case of Iran, although major European corporations did pull out of country, and Europe did back down on its bargain with Tehran on uranium enrichment, nevertheless, Europe does maintain economic relations with Iran. For years, the US has also tried to prevent Europe from investing in Cuba and Europe pretty much kept away, but not entirely. The US has a mixed attitude towards European investment and resource extraction in Latin America. For one thing, the US and European corporate systems are very much interlinked. The US relies on European support in many parts of the world. For Europe to invest in Latin America and import its resources is by no means as threatening to US domination as when China does."

noam chomsky/recent entretien znet

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 13 2006 14:42 utc | 20

RG: Has there ever been a critic of French colonial policy of the stature of Chomsky invited to talk at St. Cyr?

We gave them pox and the priest
and took diamonds, slaves, and oil
We gave them the mission civilitrice
and took their food and soil
We embraced afrique francophone
and took them to our heart
and still the savages bitch and moan.
and ask us to depart.

Posted by: citizen k | May 13 2006 16:03 utc | 21

citizen k

to my knowledge, yes. i think ettienne balibar, pierre macheray, edgar morin, vidal naquet & others & yes i find that strange because intellectual here possess political power while in america they posess no power, no power at all unless they are david horowitz

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 13 2006 17:58 utc | 22

So can you point me to an essay by any of these elite literary critics that is as uncrompromising on say Rwanda or Cote Ivoire or Central African Republic or French Polynesia as Chomsky has been on US imperial ventures? Prof. Balibar may have sophisticated notions of europe and Prof Macherey may have subtle teories on althusserian insights into literature, but I don't know of anything they have written that would be disconcerting in St. Cyr or in the Ecole Normale. What am I missing?

Posted by: citizen k | May 13 2006 18:29 utc | 23

a great deal, i imagine

& i will not enter a pissing contest to see whose elites are better equipped to deal with public intellectuals - you know yr edward said as well as i do

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 13 2006 18:36 utc | 24

No pissing contest is required - just a reference which you apparently find beyond your abilities. My impression that that the appeal of structural marxism is precisely in its non-threatening absorbtion of marxist terminology into the theoretical concepts that can be applauded politely in the elite institutions. What Chomsky does that is so outrageous is specifically investigate US operations and elite lies in e.g. Cambodia or the Middle East. It does not surprise me to hear that St. Cyr is hospitable to learned disquisitions on the notion of "border", but I'd be more interested to see some discussion of the role of the French State in Ivory Coast. Of course, I am no expert on French intellectual culture, so a counter-example would be educational.

Posted by: citizen k | May 13 2006 18:51 utc | 25

Europe supported US foreign policy from 1989 on, to take just that time frame - e.g. the ‘privatisation’ of Russia, the busting up of Yugoslavia, the ‘invasion’ of Afghanistan, the sanctions on Iraq and the 2003 invasion.

In part, they did so secretely, as their populations were recalcitrant, they knew it would take time. What one can see now is merely the making public of a long time policy. But EU leaders still have to play nice with the people. E.g. The Dutch should not be aware that at Schiphol there are holding cells for terrorists, and no-go areas for suspect cargo (arms.)

Italy was never a problem - and Tony turned up trumps, beyond what was ever expected. The “new Europe” were clueless, looking for money, that’s all. Cash. France collaborated mightily, but underground. Enough about that.

Posted by: Noisette | May 13 2006 18:57 utc | 26

c k

all higher schools - whether they are academic, administrative & institutions publish inn house publications - i'm sure you can find what you want - from those sources

beyond that, yes, perhaps it is beyond my ability

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 13 2006 19:03 utc | 27

RG: We are at an interesting juncture where Latin America seems to have, at last, a chance for self-determination and even a little democracy and economic justice. Bush has cleverly destroyed the US army in Iraq, is dismantling the CIA, and has lost management of the economy so he has no ability to intervene decisivly. In Bolivia the Indian peasants have overthrown a racist compradore kleptocracy and attempt to take back their natural resources. In response, the humanists of the Europe Against Populism step up to try to punish the impudent non-whites and the Brave European Public Intellectuals treat us to discussions of the evil of America and finer points of Althusserian notions of interioricity. Inspirational.

Posted by: citizen k | May 13 2006 19:33 utc | 28

A real poll: Newsweek Poll: Americans Wary of NSA Spying

Has the Bush administration gone too far in expanding the powers of the President to fight terrorism? Yes, say a majority of Americans, following this week’s revelation that the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone records of U.S. citizens since the September 11 terrorist attacks. According to the latest NEWSWEEK poll, 53 percent of Americans think the NSA’s surveillance program “goes too far in invading people’s privacy,” while 41 percent see it as a necessary tool to combat terrorism.

Posted by: b | May 14 2006 6:03 utc | 29

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